Who ever heard of preschoolers wearing dentures? THEY ARE TOO YOUNG FOR DENTURES! You may have heard this, even from your dentist. You may have even thought this. But guess what? It’s simply not true! Dentures for kids are a necessity if they are missing teeth due to ectodermal dysplasias.

Many kiddos affected by ectodermal dysplasias wear dentures at a very young age. The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) strongly encourages children to have and wear dentures before they start school. We have more success stories of 3-year-olds wearing dentures than we can count! And, many of these success stories took place 10, 20, even 30+ years ago. This means that dentures for kids is not a new concept.

Why do we take this stand and why is this so important for your child? Here are seven reasons.

Maverick shows off his new dentures.

Benefits of Dentures for Kids

  1. Improved jaw development and tissue development around the mouth.
  2. Improved esthetics/appearances – Dentures will create an age-appropriate facial appearance. The children do not have the “old man” appearance resulting from over closure of the jaws.
  3. Improved social well being – The children are happy and smiles instead of frowning, For the most part, their mouth looks like their peers. All of their friends have teeth! Kids want to fit in.
  4. Improved psychological well being – Children will feel better about themselves and as a result, will exhibit more self-confidence. Small children affected with an obvious physical deformity, such as the lack of teeth, run the risk of low self-esteem.
  5. Improved nutrition – Digestion begins when you put food in your mouth. Chewing is an important to digestion and nutrition. If children can’t chew, they can’t eat all of the healthy, yummy foods that are available.
  6. Improved speech development – Teeth greatly improve speech and increase vocabulary and communicative skills. This makes it easier for children to communicate with their friends and family and share their ideas and thoughts with everyone.
  7. Psychological uplift to the entire family – By improving the child’s appearance, you provide for a more normal physical development and you enhance better social and emotional adjustment. Your child and your entire family will rejoice in wearing dentures successfully!

Problems do and will arise. However, in most instances, you can overcome these hurdles through a cooperative effort between you, your child and the dentist. It requires teamwork! Be persistent with both your dentist and your child. Advocate for your child, talk to other parents and contact our office for advice and support.

Nathan smiles with and without his dentures.

Responding to Obstacles

You may run into dentists who will tell you or at least think the following:

  • “I have been making dentures for adults, and you expect me to treat this 2- or 3-year-old?”  Your response: “Yes, I do.  The benefits far outweigh the challenges.”
  • “I’m really uninformed about the nature of the problems associated with ectodermal dysplasia.” Your response: “Are you willing to learn? The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) offers resources which can help you. They can connect you with dentists with valuable expertise.”
  • “I’ve never really made dentures for someone this small.” Your response: “I understand from the NFED that the process is the same. The patient is just smaller. It can be done. There are many success stories.”
  • “I was not taught this in dental school.” Your response: “I understand that you may not have experience. Are you willing to learn?”
  • “We have to wait until your child is grown to do any dental treatment.” Your response: “The NFED recommends that children receive dentures by the time they go to school because of all of the benefits. I want this treatment for my child and will not wait.”

Be armed with information to counter these statements. We offer lots of great information you should take to your dentist. Our Parameters of Oral Healthcare for Oral Care for Individuals Affected by Ectodermal Dysplasias thoroughly outlines the range of dental treatment options that are appropriate at each of your age of your child’s life.

Tessa shows her smile before and after dentures.

Finding a Dental Expert

Finding a dentist with any experience, let alone extensive experience, in treating the dental needs of children with ectodermal dysplasia is very rare. The chance of treating a pediatric case during training, even in specialty programs, is not very great. The chance of seeing cases in the average dental practice is also rare. Most dentists learn to treat the dental problems associated with ectodermal dysplasias by simply expressing interest in learning more information, taking time to talk to parents, other mentors or calling the NFED. So, yes, it may be up to you, the parent, to help educate your dentist.

Dollars for Dentures

If you need help paying for the dentures, apply to our Treatment Assistance Program. Be sure and read through the criteria. Providing dentures for kids is a priority for this program.

Remember: Every child deserves a smile. Especially yours! Every child needs teeth for nutrition, speech and facial structure. Advocate strongly for dentures before school. Stay tuned. In a future blog, we will offer tips to get your child to wear the dentures! 

11 comments on “Dentures for Kids”

  1. 1
    Betty Kozanecki on April 19, 2017

    I have a big bag of dentures starting from 1991 when my son was 2yrs old. The tooth fairy used to pay each time a new denture was required. I might also add that I still have the tiny plate made for me at the Sydney Dental Hospital in 1953.

  2. 2
    Clara Kikta on April 19, 2017

    One dentist told us “you’ll have a car in his mouth” referring to the expense. Another much wiser one refereed us to Loyola dental school. He stayed with the student as he began his practice until the dentist retired.

  3. 3
    David Berendsen on April 19, 2017

    I have been wearing full dentures since I was 3 years old. That was 53 years ago. They’re great for Show and Tell! 😉

    As Clara state, you are better off going to a Dental School if possible. The cost is much lower, the work is done by Graduate students, not just regular dental students, and supervised by professors.

  4. 4
    Rahul Jain on April 28, 2017

    I went to local dentist for dentures for my three year kid suffering from ED, He took an RPG of his mouth and told me that the lower ridges are not developed and are too thin to hold denture ( he have only two conical upper teeth). Please suggest what to do.

    1. 5
      Orgia on June 11, 2017

      I have a dentist but I’m not sure we’re you are from. But here his contact information any way. An he take patients on Saturday. Dr Charlton Connor 843 669 2456 . Address 461 West cheves St Florence SC 29501. Hope this helps.

  5. 6
    Patrice Wiegand on April 29, 2017

    Don’t give up! Keep looking for a dentist who specializes in making dentures. I think a dental school is a great start. Our dentist referred us to the dental school at unmc in Omaha,NE. Dr. Paul Sheridan has taken great care of our son for 15 years.

  6. 7
    Alesha Snell on June 10, 2017

    I make the teeth for some of these children. One of my cute patients I’ve help every year as she’s grown up. It’s beneficial for function and self esteem. I know a specialist who is hands down amazing if you need a referral. You can email me at revolutiondentallab@gmail.com


  7. 8
    Nancy keim on January 31, 2018

    I have a daughter with a developmental disabilities she’s very small her mouth is very small right now she’s trying to wear dentures that were made for an adult I’m just wondering if what you have would help her we live in McMinnville Oregon I’m not sure where you are located

    1. 9
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on February 1, 2018

      Hi, Nancy. Dentist can definitely make dentures that are appropriately sized for a child. The process to make them is the same but obviously, are just smaller. We would encourage you to work with that dentist or find a different dentist to make ones that fit her better. Not all dentists have experience making them but it can be done! The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias is located in Fairview Heights, IL. However, we are are a nonprofit who helps individuals affected by ectodermal dysplasias. We do NOT provide direct treatment. You might check to see if there is a dental school near you or find a pediatric dentist who is willing to work with you. We wish you luck. Jodi, Director, Marketing and Communications, National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

  8. 10
    Jennifer Finch on February 15, 2018

    It seems everyone here is talking about seeing a ‘dentist’ for missing teeth. The more logical & economical choice is to see a ‘denturist’ directly. This is the technician who actually fits and makes the teeth. They are trained and licensed in every Province in Canada. Is it different in the US? international-denturists.org is a helpful site.

    1. 11
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on February 19, 2018

      Hi, Jennifer. We recommend that a person with ectodermal dysplasia first see their dentist to determine what treatment they need and what kind of practitioner can provide that service. Some times, they may need a team of different dentists depending on the care they might need. For example, they may first need orthodontia before they can begin getting dentures. That’s why the recommendation is to see a dentist. Jodi, Director, Marketing and Communication, National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

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